"Tried to do the right thing and not go to Emergency"

About: Midwest Mental Health and Community Alcohol and Drug Service

(as a relative),

My mother is the carer for my terminally ill father. They don't have a lot and can't afford private assistance, private counselling or regular GP appointments. Even with support, things can occasionally get to be too much for her and getting in to see her GP can be difficult when appointments aren't available for a couple of days, even when stating it is urgent. Feeling rather overwhelmed one morning, and not feeling like she could cope anymore and yet not wanting to burden the Emergency Department as she felt it wasn't an emergency situation, my mother presented to the Mental Health Unit at the Hospital asking to speak with someone. My mother was met by an unhelpful, abrupt receptionist that stated the next available appointment would be in 3 weeks time. Is there not a Mental Health Triage Nurse or process whereby someone clinical is trained to assess a situation and make recommendations? Even if the Triage Nurse was busy with someone at the time, my mother would have been happy to wait, for even a brief assessment. But having someone clerical determine my mother's feelings weren't important and not acknowledging the situation she was in, compounded the issue and my mother left crying and more upset than she already was. Thankfully my mother has improved, however it was a difficult time thinking there was nowhere she could turn just to have someone listen to her and help her mental stability.

Responses

Response from WA Country Health Service Midwest We have made a change

Dear Coffee Cup

Thank you for sharing your mothers story on Patient Opinion. I am very sorry that your mother has experienced our services in this way and I know that it would have been upsetting for her. Her experience does not meet our commitment to providing high quality patient centred care and the concerns you have outlined are not reflective of our values, particularly that of compassion and the service standards that we strive for.

I have discussed your story with Jamie Robson, Acting Regional Manager, Midwest Mental Health and Community Alcohol and Drug Service and he would like the opportunity to discuss the concerns you have raised and would appreciate if you could contact him on 9956 1936 or alternatively you can contact me on 9956 8695 or email michele.young@health.wa.gov.au. Your call would be very welcome and can still be addressed anonymously if you wish.

Please be reassured that we take your feedback seriously. Your story has been shared with the staff and will be used to address the issues regarding customer service and compassion that you have raised to improve the experience of all health users.

As your mother is a carer, she may have already accessed services available from the Midwest Commonwealth Respite and Carelink Centre. If she hasn’t, their services may be of assistance to you and your family. The centre offers, information and support to carers as well as assistance to access respite services. They are located at Geraldton Hospital and you can contact them on 1800 052 222.

Again thank you for taking the time to provide feedback about our service and I hope to hear from you soon.

Kind regards

Michele

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